4 Real-World Tricks for a Successful Holiday Season

Say goodbye to holiday hassles.
4 Real-World Tricks for a Successful Holiday Season
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This story appears in the November 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Want an edge this holiday? Take road-tested advice from these four entrepreneurs. 

Know your limits

“My photography business is just me. It’s great to have the option to stay up till 3 a.m. designing Christmas cards, but I also need to know when to pass on jobs. If someone calls on December 8 and wants a family session, holiday cards made, and a big canvas print for Grandma, I have to say no.”
-- Mary Hanson, Mary Hanson Photography, Minneapolis

Set staffing expectations

“I run a day spa and boutique. People come in as late as Christmas Eve getting services done to look good for the holidays! We have about 12 employees and try to limit any kind of vacation after October 31. There can be exceptions, but our staff want to be here for their clients.”
-- Lisa Mergel, Kanvas Beauty, Tallahassee

Prepare early

“The first year we opened our pie shop, we had 88 orders for Thanksgiving, and we lost our minds. Now it’s a smooth operation -- last year we shipped 1,500 pies. In October, we build boxes, start prepping our crust and make sure we’ve budgeted for our produce and dairy orders, which go through the roof.”

-- Valeri Lucks, Honeypie Cafe, Milwaukee

Pick your battles

“Our gift-shop return policy is that we do only exchanges or store credit. Sometimes customers -- never a regular -- will demand a refund. If they’re going to make a scene or write a really negative Yelp review, it’s easier to do the refund and move on. Having someone write about a bad experience, you can’t win that back.”
-- Brandy Deieso, The Little Apple, Philadelphia

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